Passenger Rail, Safety, Standards & Regulation

Legislation passed to integrate light rail vehicles to ACT road rules

Canberra light rail. Graphic: ACT Government

ACT’s legislative assembly has passed the first stage of reforms to the territory’s road transport legislation, aimed at supporting the safe operation of light rail vehicles.

The Road Transport Reform (Light Rail) Legislation Amendment Bill 2017 was introduced to the ACT parliament in June, with the government saying it would lay the foundation for a sustainable and integrated transport system into the future by having light rail operators conform to existing road rules that apply to other vehicles.

“An integrated public transport network with both light rail and buses is the way of the future and an essential part of how cities operate,” transport minister Meegan Fitzharris said.

“While the physical side of the project continues to develop in clear view of the community, having the legislation in place to ensure the network is convenient and safe is also crucial to the success of the project.”

The legislation reforms mean that drivers of light rail vehicles will be required to hold a full car licence and will be required to go through an extensive training process before they are able to operate on the network.

Light rail drivers that break road rules – by running red lights or speeding, for instance – can now be issued with infringement notices, fines, and, potentially, face the revocation of their licence.

Light rail drivers will have to follow the same requirements that apply to the drivers of other vehicles involved in accidents, including testing for drug and alcohol use by the police.

Light rail vehicles will also be treated the same as those occurring with other vehicles on the road, as they are now subject to the ACT’s compulsory third party insurance scheme. Compensation will thus be available for people injured by an at fault light rail vehicle driver.